Throughout the racing season, there emerges a core of young rowers hungry for more.
The Heart and Soul of Station Maine’s programs is our Watch Captain Program. Throughout the year and, most particularly, throughout the racing season, there emerges a core of young rowers who are hungry for more. They stay on for the winter. They help with community projects. They show themselves to be committed to learning. These young rowers become the next generation of Watch Captains, the true leaders of Station Maine.
Their training begins during the racing season where novice rowers learn to pull under the command of someone not much older than they are. Seasoned Watch Captains teach their crews the rudiments of oar handling, of pulling together, of working as a crew. They teach them the basics of seamanship and knot craft. They teach them the Honor Code. At the end of the racing season the young rowers completely understand what is expected of them in Station Maine. They understand how hard they will have to work to become Watch Captains.
Come summer our crew is solid, strong, and bonded like no other experience can bond.
The heart and soul of Station Maine's programs is our Watch Captain program.
Throughout the winter, the older Watch Captains teach their young crews how to handle the gig, maneuvering her to and from the dock, keeping a careful watch on wind and tide. It is no small feat to dock a 32’ gig with oars sticking out of either side at low water in the dark of winter, giving orders to a crew of your peers, yet that is the skill that must be learned.
Come summer our core crew is solid, strong, and bonded like no other experience can bond. They have survived a winter rowing an open boat on the icy waters of Rockland Harbor with no adult on board. They are ready for more responsibility, and ready to advance together.
We go camping in the early weeks of summer. Here the training becomes more intense. Mornings are all about boat handling. Afternoons will involve training in CPR, first aid, drown proofing, rescue of Man Overboard, Rules of the Road, Right of Way, Leadership, and, most importantly, the understanding that as Captain (cox) you are 100% responsible for the safety and well being of vessel and crew. No excuses. No place to hide.
At the end of our camping trip, the young trainees are asked an important question. “Are you ready to take on the responsibilities of a Watch Captain with Station Maine?” Sometimes there is a bit of shuffling and downcast eyes. We all know in our own hearts if we’re ready, and there is no shame in waiting a year. New Watch Captains are invested with the consent of the old Watch Captains. Their job is not only to carry the skills and traditions of Station Maine, but to pass them on to the next crop of incoming rowers in the fall.
It is the Watch Captains who hold Station Maine together. They are called on to pitch-in if a large school group needs a second cox. They are called on to cox the Community Rows and often to train adult coxes. They are the backbone of our program. As they grow they become the backbone of society. They are our hope for the future.